Paint me like one of your bald men watching pies.
In this episode we’re testing skills and Freddy Forster’s patience!
Pasta, Pesto! Kill! Kill!
For this week’s Mystery Skills Test the celebrities were going to have to make Pesto Pasta with a Parmesan Tuile and somewhere Faye Winter is furious that she had to make nonsense meringues in custard when she could have just been making Zizzi’s Spring Menu
Gareth and Mel were both perfectly at home with this challenge, the latter because she has been monastically studying every series of MasterChef for the last 25 years and the former because it was his go-to dish at university and I absolutely believe with full confidence that drama student Gareth Malone spent every evening in his East Anglia University flat making organic pesto with Parsley, which obviously he and his pack of drama geek flatmates had grown themselves, hence the perfect dish that did look a bit like it was smiling at me
Mel had similar success but apparently she overlooked the verse 1:5 in The Gospel of Digger Dean: “Thee might not but at each moment destalk thine basil, ‘r risketh getting bits stuck in thine teeth”
everyone was a little hesitant over the parmesan tuiles, hence Gareth not making just one spare but having three back up tuiles of varying sizes on the go
but truly nobody had a worse time with the tuiles than Cliff Parisi who was thrown to the wolves and left to try his best to make them in the frying pan, which you apparently can do, but Cliff had put in too much cheese and was just frying cheese
which did mean that it never really crisped up so he was forced to just unceremoniously flop the molten cheese onto his pasta, and nothing has ever filled me with such a potent mixture of glee and revulsion
and Gregg very rudely lost his mind over it after having done nothing at all to try and stop it
and I can’t say I wouldn’t done the exact same thing if someone had served up what looked like the blobfish’s uglier, more flaccid cousin
they could have offered him A FEW hints because they had just dragged Chris Eubank through this challenge like John and Gregg were playing a cooking simulator – which was a kindness because I think if they hadn’t Chris would have just stared at the ingredients for the full 15 minutes in the hopes that they would eventually just make the dish themselves out of their mortification. Meanwhile Gareth Malone only got cryptic hints like “use your nose” which had him immediately shoving sage up it like he was trying to exorcise himself from the challenge
only for John to then point out that he meant that his four (4) tuiles were burning and I haven’t seen Gareth Malone move this fast since he heard a natural soprano in the all boys school he used for the all boys choir series of The Choir
But I did love it when John asked Chris if he had ever made his own pasta in the hopes that they weren’t going to have to help anymore and he said “yes” and for a fleeting moment John was the happiest man alive, and then Chris said “but it is usually ready-made. Will I have ready-made pasta today?” and while John spiralled into an existential crisis, wondering how long it would take before he’s inevitably replaced by Amol Rajan
I realised that Chris Eubank is basically just that meme of the cat that’s triumphantly returned carrying a dead mouse that’s still in a mousetrap
and I really did think that Chris was genuinely upset that he had required so much help to get through this challenge – I mean look at his little face!
and then they cut to his backstage interview and he seemed blithely unaware that he had very much not done the assignment at hand
God bless him.
4 Dishes At Freddy’s
This week’s Professional Chef Advertisement Power Hour was for Freddy Forster whose food is inspired by his Sierra Leonean heritage. And he certainly wasn’t making things easy for anyone, particularly Mel whose turn it was to be thrown to the wolves by having to cook the now infamously cursed rack of lamb, and not even her and her 25 years of dedicated prayer and MasterChef studies could entirely save her from undercooking it
granted it most mostly an issue with the rendering of the fat so John didn’t have to point blankly refuse to eat the lamb, which was also accompanied by a flat bread and an orange and fennel salad
it did strike me as looking a little bit ungenerous – the garnish of a salad is giving me Buttery Buttery Butternut energy, especially when you compare it to Freddy’s example dish
but I think she mostly got away with the shortcomings of her dish because Freddy was quite glad to have someone in the room that he didn’t have to keep an eagle-like eye on, Chris being the worst offender and immediately striking fear into Freddy’s very soul when he almost had his own Beef Trifle moment
and from that moment on, Freddy would not leave Chris unsupervised for more than 6 minutes at any given time lest he sserve up fried chicken coated in Froot Loops. I think before the challenge if you told Freddy he would be spending so much time with Chris Eubank, he would have been thrilled! He clearly has a lot of respect for the man, he called him Mr. Eubank the entire time while 7 times platinum pop star Mel Blatt was just Mel and never Madame Blatt AS SHE DESERVES. But unfortunately Freddy was not going to be able to pick Mr. Eubank’s brains about his boxing career and life story because he was too busy counting vegetables for him
Three! Three vegetables! Ha! Ha! Ha!
I’m not quite sure what percentage of the Fried Chicken dish was actually Chris’s efforts
they did mostly compliment the entirely raw black eyed bean salsa and peanut butter coleslaw because he had rather overcooked the fried-chicken, which Freddy was taking absolutely no blame for despite Chris desperately tried to pass it off onto him like a KFC Cuckoo
that “No, Mr. Eubank…” shall echo through my head for the rest of my life.
Chris wasn’t the only one having to contend with the deep fat fryers as Cliff was making Freddy’s version of Fish and Chips which involved frying the cod in a batter mixed with spinach and okra. Frying wasn’t the only thing he was in contention with Chris over as clearly not wanting to be outdone in the wardrobe department, Cliff had brought out the monogrammed cuffs
which he admirably managed to not get dirty despite the amount of work he was having to do
and he managed to achieve all of the right textures – the okra and plantain hadn’t gone all soggy which is great for someone who had obviously never cooked with them before, and thankfully Freddy had managed to save him from cooking the fish several minutes too early, so it had remained crispy too instead of becoming a bit soggy.
Getting the honour of making the dessert was Gareth who was having to make a giant profiterole filled with chantilly cream and a mango syrup as well as a ginger ice cream on the side, which was meant to look like this
and in true Nailed It! fashion, looked distinctly not like that and a bit more like a novelty Yorkshire pudding served at The Toby Carvery on Mother’s Day
it is however still a better choux bun than a good 70% of the ones made on Bake Off: The Professionals which has done to choux pastry what Jaws did for sharks.
For their place in the quarter-final, the celebs were having to create a dish that had some real nostalgic value to them, so it was a bit of a pity that Chris wasted his Fried Corned Beef in the last episode, but he had a backup and was honouring his Jamaican roots with the national dish Ackee and Saltfish. John immediately wanted to know how much Scotch Bonnet he was going to be using and Chris gave him a whole Shakespearean performance about how it was not going to be too spicy which just bemused John more than anything else
and he was true to his word, the spicing was very subtle so John didn’t have to profusely sweat on camera again
I particularly love that Chris Eubank is a proponent of moulded piles of food and the now trademark single cherry tomato garnish – which I believe brought up the amount of ingredients he was using to six!
The only person going the full novelty Twitter account that ritualistically tweets out engagement bait nonsense like “Does anyone else remember the 1950s when we ate bricks for breakfast, played with stray dogs in the street and didn’t know what a Dua Lipa was?” was Cliff who was making a proper Cockney style Pie and Mash supper, which he and Gregg bonded over like a family who had just installed a television for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation
and Cliff was not playing around with this pie – he promised double pie and and double mash and he made his own dreams come true
it’s the most beautiful lump of beige I’ve ever seen and Cliff was similarly moved to tears the moment John held aloft a perfectly intact bisection of pie
God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good and He validated it completely. (I’m really using those years of Sunday School well, huh?)
With Gareth opting to remain on dessert duties, Mel was the last of the savoury dishes – hers being chicken tacos inspired by a family holiday to Mexico, and I loved how she talked about having developed her chicken recipe over the years when I am about 90% sure what she made was just the BBC GoodFood recipe for Chicken Mole (pronounced MOE-LAY), which I have no issue with, it’s a great recipe, I make it quite often, but Lisa was giving me very TikTok Gentrification of the Guilep energy with this one
she was a little bit worried about the quality of her tortillas, which is probably why she hid them beneath such generous amounts of salad and The Blatt Family’s Super Secret Mexican Chicken, but neither John or Gregg complained about the tortillas and instead mostly just praised the dish and the fact she had done so much work in the time that Chris had once again made a 1 pan dish and boiled rice.
And seeing us out with a dessert was Gareth and his Queen of Puddings inspired by his gran who used to make it every sunday until about 2003 when she developed dementia and couldn’t make it anymore, and if Cliff wept at the sight of his ascending pie, Gareth bringing up a perfect Queen of Puddings to the pass is my The Notebook
not even the almost comedic raspberry nipples could ruin the moment, it was a great piece of work and more moving than I expected from an episode of Celebrity MasterChef, so good for him.
A Nostalgic Dish Ranking
- Gareth’s Emotional Queen of Puddings
- Cliff’s Ascending Pie
- Mel’s BBC Tacos
- Chris’s 6 Ingredient Supper
I don’t think there was much suspense as to who was going home, the Chris Eubank express had clearly reached the end of the incredibly endearing and entertaining line and I think it was the right decision to end his MasterChef journey just before the Quarterfinal, even if I really want to know what his two course menu would have looked like
but I’ll tell you what, he has immediately jumped to the top of my Strictly Come Dancing Wish List – I imagine he would insist that he salsas in a full 3 piece suit.
And so, we’re heading to the second of our quarterfinal
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